Sunday, July 30, 2017

Some Thoughts on Lorca

    I am about to read the rural section of his poetry, and I wonder if it will be as surrealistic as the New York part. For a change of pace, I skipped ahead to a lecture/reading he gave. He mentioned a poem he was going to write, and the subject touched me. Is it presumptuous of me to step in and write it? Hmmmm.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Book Signing in Chapin, SC on Saturday, 29 July

Here is my book trailer for Accents

And see the event and more on Twitter! Follow me and I will follow you!

Thanks, and feel free to retweet!

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Quick Lorca Update

These poems are very surrealistic. What I
had read early by him was not, but this is a pleasant surprise all the same.

Book signing/poetry workshop in Chapin, SC this Saturday

     Come see the new Accents banner! This time I am paired with a children's author, so there is no direct competition. I would hate to be with a fellow poet, especially one who is a friend.

      The Coffee Bar is a wonderful place, and is very relaxing!

       I will see you there!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Philip Yancey on Reading, and Poetry

     How do we carve time from our busy schedules to read to understand something? Philip Yancey's post "Reading Wars" examines the issue. He is an evangelical Christian writer who sounds to me like a Lutheran, which is great in my book!

     For years I felt that I had no time for reading, let alone writing. Weekly sermons, civilian and military educational needs, lesson plans, and much more pushed out the muse. I had about a 20 -year break from writing poetry because the last thing I wanted to do was to listen to the muse.

     Now we are assaulted by so many visual stimuli when we read. Technology, a two-edged sword if there ever was one, overwhelms us with visual distractors which make reading difficult. Especially, I would add, a text of some complexity.

     In some education circles, "experts" tell us that reading is reading, be it a sports section from the newspaper, a comic book, beach reading, or a classic novel. I disagree, but the administration does not care. some colleagues say that as long as students read anything it's fine.

    But if they do not move on to more complicated texts, that is bad, I am not talking about reading metaphysics. It is important to understand the nuances of a news story or op-ed column, or to figure out which pickup truck to buy.

     My wife read the Yancey post and told me that he spoke about poetry as well. Too much "poetry" is merely prose with different spacings. He selects some excellent poets.

I find that poetry helps. You can’t zoom through poetry; it forces you to slow down, think, concentrate, relish words and phrases. I now try to begin each day with a selection from George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins, or R. S. Thomas.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Book Signing in Chapin, South Carolina

I am wondering what to do for the poetry workshop...

Thursday, July 20, 2017

"Accents" Launched in Columbia, SC

An outstanding Columbia Launch last night for "Accents" at Mind Gravy (Cool Beans was the location). Many thanks to friends and fellow poets Al Black for having me at his event again, and John Starino for pictures! Also thanks to Vashaboo for music, and to all who listened, bought, and said how my poetry touched them. Someone even paid me the supreme compliment of tellng me he heard some TS Eliot-like things!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

He could have made millions, but chose to help people

     The Wyoming Valley of Northeastern Pennsylvania is a lot like the Monongahela Valley of the Keystone State where I was raised. The difference was that the former had anthracite coal, and the latter bituminous.

     For a dozen years we lived in the Wyoming Valley, and for almost five of them we live din Nanticoke, where I pastored a Lutheran congregation. About 10% of the population had a college degree, and times were hard,

    Probably 1% of the population had a college degree when Stanley Dudrick was born. The link below talks about a genius who never forgot his roots, and who chose to help others instead of making a fortune. He did all right financially: no doubt about that. But at 82 years of age he is still helping people.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Martin Landau, RIP

     Younger audiences will not have seen the Mission Impossible television show, nor have seen Landau as a Roman in Cleopatra. most likely they would have seen him in Ed Wood as Bela Lugosi in his final days.

     A skilled an actor as he was, Landau also taught acting. His influence extended far beyond his roles (and there were times when he was not in front of the camera), but his influence extended throughout the profession.

    I smiled when I read in the NYT story that he had to learn the Hungarian accent for playing Lugosi. That's what I heard growing up from my father's family. What's to learn, I asked?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Columbia, SC Launch of "Accents"[%7B%5C%22surface%5C%22%3A%5C%22messaging%5C%22%2C%5C%22mechanism%5C%22%3A%5C%22attachment%5C%22%2C%5C%22extra_data%5C%22%3A%7B%7D%7D]%22%7D

I am also working on another launch in the suburbs.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Stretching myself with a bilingual Lorca edition

     I have been intending to do this for some time, and I found a copy of  Poet in New York 
 in Augusta Georgia's excellent Book Tavern. There will be more about this as I work my way through it. If you are fortunate to have an independent book store in or near your community, please support t.

Monday, July 10, 2017

58% of Republicans Think College is Not Good for America

     No, this is not satire. This is not fake news. I would post this no matter what the majority was; I am not picking on Republicans. While the article starts off with the Pew Foundation poll, scroll down to see what some 2016 Republican candidates said during the primary season. Then shake your head.

     College simply costs too much in America. I am not advocating making it free. Some of the people who say we should be like Denmark are not aware in in European countries not every attends college or university.

     I see too many students saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in debt. As a result, they find it difficult not only to pay it off, but to buy a house, have a decent car or truck, and most importantly save money for the future, especially for their children's education.

    Marco Rubio's comments in the article (link below) about vo-tech  education amaze me. We do need that education, but a two-year associate degrees are beneficial. I teach at a good high school, and am adjunct at a good technical college (that's what junior/community colleges are called in the Southern USA). A link about these degrees follows the first link.

     The anti-intellectual streak runs wide and deep in America. And intellectuals have been dead wrong on things in the past. But I simply cannot fathom how we can remain competitive as a nation if we do not encourage people to get as much education as they can handle, and make it accessible.

     These Republicans fail to realize that if we do not produce enough educated people, then we wil have to rely on immigration, and then the GOP can show its xenophobic side.

     At times I really think that they, and others, intend to destroy the middle class and keep most people permanently living from paycheck-to-paycheck while an oligarchy runs the show. Instead of bread and circuses, it is junk food and Fox TV.

Friday, July 7, 2017

When life gives you lemons, post the lemons somewhere else.

      Recently I submitted something to a site that would allow me to do some book promotion if I taught  readers something in 400-1,000 words. The piece eas rejected, but it is a good blog post all the same. 
     Life goes on.
Before my first book came out, a long-time friend told me that poetry was really “hot” these days, I laughed and told her that not everything that was labelled as poetry really was.
There is more to poetry than spewing some words on to paper or a computer screen, fiddling with the lines and punctuation, and declaring it to be a poem.
An example I use in class runs like this. Someone asks if I want to hear there poem. I say that I do.
“I had a balloon.
It was red.
I lost it
The world stinks.”
“What do you think of my poem?”
I reply, “Where was it?” 
Cruel? Yes, but also honest. Where are the poetic features? Where is the different word order? What about the words that are used differently or the seldom-used words? Merely because one wants it to be a poem, does not make it a poem.
I am an Owner at both a very large Google+ poetry community, and a very small one. I find better poetry at the latter. At the former I offer critique/mentoring, and it usually works.
What do I advise newer poets to do? I tell them to read a lot of good poetry. Then I tell them to imitate it. Gradually they will find their own voice. When I shared a poem with a friend, she thought it was TS Eliot. To me, that was a compliment!
As newer poets develop, they realize that there are new people to read, and new styles to try. I have my mentors, and value their insight and critique.
But none of that would have happen if I wrote “poems” like the one above and left it at that. I imagine that another form of writing will be “hot”, and some people will gravitate towards it.
In the meantime, I am no Rilke, but the advice I give to poets of any age is to read, imitate, experiment with different styles, and last but not least, experience life!
Arthur Turfa has two books of poetry, Accents (Blue Deco Publishing 2017) and Places and Times (eLectio Publishing 2015). He is an Owner at POETS and Words on Fire on Google+. Since 2005 he has lived in South Carolina, where he is retired from some things, but not everything.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Happy 150th, Canada!

    By my count I have visited Canada six times. My father used to fish there, and an uncle and aunt had a vacation home there. Although I have never had contract with them, I have relatives in Saskatchewan and Ontario (the latter escape Hungary after the failed 1956 revolution but could not enter the USA.

     Dominion Day is 1 July, a few days before the USA's Independence Day celebration. In a more civil political climate, the president and prime minister would have hosted each other for the respective celebrations. That would not happen, and it is not Canada's fault.

     Happy Birthday to both nations! I add a link to what some wish was Canada;s national anthem.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Bundestag Approves Same-Sex Marriage

   Full of nuances, it has happened. Chancellor Angela Merkel indicated her disapproval, but potential coalition partners made their support conditions, so it was approved. not that the Christian Democrats (and the Bavarian sister party welcomed it with open arms, but Realpolitik carried the day.

    I imagine what clinched it wa
s the Free Democrats insistence. They would be the likeliest coalition partner. And their late leader, Guide Westerwelle, was gay.

    Personally I have been in favor of civil unions for some time now. Ecclesiastically speaking, that is another matter but at least my denomination (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) has settled the issue, and I have long said that the matter need not be church-dividing.


Reviews Are So Very Important to Writers, and So Hard to Get

      When my first poetry book was published seven years ago, I dutifully asked readers/friends to review it. That book, Places and Times, ...